Yearly Archives: 2018




A couple of years ago these two well-preserved ghost signs were revealed in Paris (see Streetview), presumably by the removal of billboards that covered and protected them. [Update via Caroline’s Miscelleny: The uncovering was in 2012, and the works can be seen underway in the […]

Two Paris Beauties Under Wraps



Absolutely fascinating investigation uncovering the historical connections between two glass signs for F.W. Woolworth Co. and the Winston-Salem sit-ins that played a major role in the American Civil Rights movement. (Watch on www.pbs.org here.) Hat tip to Meredith at the Pre-Vinylite Society for spotting this, […]

F.W. Woolworth Co. and the Winston-Salem Sit-Ins


There is one week left to back the printing of a brand new publication that will be of interest to all those interested in hand-painted signs (old and new), art, design, architecture, and the intersections of all these. One of the articles inside will be […]

Introducing the Pre-Vinylite Society Journal




I recently (28 October) hosted ‘Font Sunday’ on Twitter with the theme of ‘fading fonts’ to mark the changing of the clocks and the fading light it signifies. Among the contributions made was a tweet from Eliza Brownjohn, daughter of the designer Robert Brownjohn (1925-1970) […]

London Street Level by Robert Brownjohn



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Earlier this year I was lucky to attend the launch of Lost & Foundry, a collection of fonts created and published by Fontsmith in collaboration with M&C Saatchi. They are inspired by various of pieces of historic signage in Soho, and funds raised from their […]

Fonts Inspired by Ghost (and other) Signs





One of the ‘bonus’ stops on my Bankside Ghostsigns Walk is a pair of signs on the back The Borough Welsh Congregational Chapel (Doyce Street and Great Guildford Street). These convey the euphemistic line, ‘Commit No Nuisance‘, which translates to ‘please don’t urinate here’. Many […]

Commit Some Nuisance for Bankside




In Deptford, South East London, the processes of development/gentrification are having an impact on the area’s walls, including ghost signs. The following is cribbed from two Twitter threads, here and here, largely focused on the Deptford Market Yard. First up is this shelter sign from […]

It’s All Popping Off in Deptford Market Yard


The above fragment of a ghost sign was revealed by the demolition of the adjascent building in Melbourne in 2014, as documented by Al Briggs at RMIT… “The majority of existing ghost signs that remain in suburban Melbourne are signs that were originally painted on […]

Recycling & Rearranging Ghost Signs



My father-in-law discovered this astonishing collection of high quality photography showing the high street in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, in 1888. They were photographed by Joseph Lewis della-Porta who came from a retailing family and had the foresight to document these images which convey so much of […]

Shropshire Shop Fronts of the 1880s


Ghost signs in Montreal, Canada, are an interesting category, due to the bilingual nature of the city and wider region of Quebec. This idiosyncracy has been covered in ‘Sur les murs‘ by Réjane Bougé. (Lovely photographs, contemporary and archival, but sadly the text is only […]

Ghost Signs of Montreal & Ottawa from John Toohey


The Grand Exhibition of the Pre-Vinylite Society is now showing for four days at the Bargehouse, behind the OXO Tower on London’s South Bank. Visitors can take in the c.30 pieces from an international cast of contemporary sign and lettering artists, each inspired by entries […]

Now Open: The Grand Exhibition of the Pre-Vinylite Society




Digital artist Andrei Lacatusu has created Social Decay, a series of images depicting a possible future of washed-up digital companies and their derelict signs. They are ‘faux’, although in a different sense to those that I’ve documented in the past. An article on Digital Arts […]

Social Decay from Andrei Lacatusu


[This is a reposting of the original blog post on Better Letters.] Since 1996 Las Vegas’ Neon Museum has put the city’s decommissioned signage on display in its ‘bone yard’ exhibit. It was already a ‘must visit’ lettering location but has now been boosted by […]

Brilliant at Las Vegas’ Neon Museum



Continuing the occassional exploration of ‘ancient’ signs, I was thrilled to hear of this evidence that Neanderthals were busy painting the walls of caves across Spain. This species, almost dubbed Homo Stupidus (yes, stupid man!), were not previously known for this type of cultural activity, […]

64,000-Year-Old Neanderthal Cave Paintings